European Cure=Armenian Affliction?

armenia velvet revolution nationalism armenian flag
A protester with an Armenian tricolor flag draped across his shoulders stands at an April 17 demonstration against Serge Sarkisian’s premiership (Photo: Avetisyan91)

In the post-World War II era, many Europeans became rabidly anti-nationalist. Back then, it was an understandable reaction to the obscene excesses marking that cataclysm. But that natural response has persisted in its extreme form. Sometimes, it is even exported to places where it is not only unnatural, but possibly even damaging.

Armenia is one such place.

There are many of our compatriots who seem to eschew nationalism. Some of that comes from the lingering effects of seven decades worth of Soviet propaganda. But some of it comes especially among the newest generation, from exposure to and interaction with European mindsets.

A Facebook poll, recently brought to my attention, inquired whether people wanted to replace the Republic of Armenia’s anthem “Mer Hyerenik” with Charles Aznavour’s song “For You Armenia,” which has been translated into Armenian from the original French.

Nationalism is a natural human instinct and a basic expression of pride, a basic societal organizing principle. It is also a good defense against the excesses of the capitalist and corporatist tendencies being foisted upon ever larger parts of humanity.

Setting aside the tackiness, poor taste, and opportunism manifested by the timing of this poll, the more important question is why?

What’s wrong with “Mer Hyerenik”? Arguing that “Mer Hyerenik” is too sad of a song doesn’t hold water because Aznavour’s song is just as sad. Is it that it’s too strongly associated with the first three administrations (Levon, Robert, Serzh) of the Republic of Armenia and, therefore, somehow tainted? Is it too strongly associated with the first (1918) republic and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and is therefore a target of anti-ARF sectors of society? How many people even know it came from that time (and was slightly modified)? Or, is it just a matter of people who fear/distrust nationalism and want as dainty a song as possible for the national anthem?

Despite all this, lots of people were supportive of the change, at least in the very un-scientific representation of the Facebook poll.

To my mind this undue and overwrought fear of national pride must be nipped in the bud. Why are black pride, gay pride, and other identity groups’ expressions of pride acceptable, but not Armenians’? If Europe thinks it can do without nationalism, that’s fine, but for us, this pride is also protective, given our bloodthirsty eastern and western neighbors.

Nationalism is a natural human instinct and a basic expression of pride, a basic societal organizing principle. It is also a good defense against the excesses of the capitalist and corporatist tendencies being foisted upon ever larger parts of humanity. That protection comes from the caring for fellow members of one’s own nation it engenders.

Where the line should be drawn is when nationalism is abused and corrupted, becoming chauvinism and rejecting others’ nationalism or inspiring hatred of those not in one’s own nation.

My request of all fellow Armenians is to stop engaging in these unnecessary and ultimately divisive and destructive diversions. Let’s focus on addressing and solving our real issues, such as the kerfuffle over when to hold snap parliamentary elections in the RoA. So much is happening so quickly on that front that I decided to hold off on commenting ‘til the dust settled a bit.


Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.

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  1. Well said Garen, this “diversity” SJW hypocrisy has already infected Europe, Canada and US. It has made a mockery of what was once Paris, Sweden, Germany and London.

    They infect the universities first and nest there until enough brainwashing happens in naive young minds to use the power of the social media dominated by these young kids to initiate an anti country, anti identity, anti nation campaign in order to weaken the individual and to penetrate and control their homeland. In the end submission is the goal. Submission of capital, manipulation of history followed by progression of their geopolitical adventurism and removal of liberty under the guise of false deceptive virtue.

    If Armenians don’t open their eyes they will be consumed. And it almost always starts like this, it always has in history.

    Eastern Europeans saw this coming and are fighting back, Armenian kids should take advice from their brave mothers and wise grand fathers instead of the bloodsucking bankers and politicians who have sold theirs at Brussels.

  2. It’s not just Europe, Garen.

    The American Left is also highly anti-nationalist.

    The American Left (and a certain powerful non-Christian religion) wants to balkanize America and divide it into certain protected “minorities” – not just Blacks and Hispanics but also LGBTQ, with outrages such as to brainwash little kids. It’s a takeover attempt. Is America going to be a better place then?

    American Whites and Christians (this includes Armenians) are to be marginalized. The only race that is NOT permitted to have “pride” now, Garen, are Whites.

    Please think about that. You think “rap culture” is good for anyone? Are that and MS-13 what you want to take over?

    The only religion under real attack DOMESTICALLY in the US, Garen, is
    Christianity. Never Judaism and not Islam. Ever wonder why?

    Please think about that and don’t make excuses. America has a right to Christianity and always has but now it is under attack. Who is doing this? The Left, LGBT, and non-Christians.

    The same is going to happen to Armenia if it loses its nationalism and becomes infected with certain forms of Western liberalism.

    I am not rejecting the West at all. I live here and believe in it. I am not pro-Russian.

    But even many Americans and Europeans, brainwashed by the Left and a certain powerful non-Christian religion, no longer believe in it.

    I think, Garen, that you need to delve a bit deeper into all this and realize that “multiculturalism” – as presently being practiced (and I emphasize those 4 words) – is leading to destruction.

    • Armenian-Americans are not White Americans and would do better to ally themselves with liberal rather than conservative agendas that ultimately benefit a small sliver of society that define themselves in very narrow terms that don’t extend to any ethnic populations.

    • Careful of twisters of truth like Ray. Neither the right nor the left have hegemony over extremism and greed and thoughtlessness. These are owned outright by the alt-left and alt-right. Both alts actually meet and mingle and are interchangeable and make the left-right line into a circle. The closer you are to the extreme the further you get from being able to live and let live. Think about that!!!

      It does not matter what the topic is – extremism forces the opponent to also become extreme.

    • The left is evil; do not know right from wrong and do not care. George Soros and company (left) are in their own sick world and they are looking to bring down America.
      Would hate to see the loss of nationalism in Armenia; just look at us here in America and what the left is doing. Enough said.

  3. Քեզ համար Հայաստանը նվիրված է երկրաշարժին: Որևէ առաջարկից առաջ ավելի լավ է մտածել: Նացիոնալիզմը շատ լավ է, դու քո դեմքը չես կորցնում: Ռեյսիզմն է որ կործանարար է: Տարբերությունը շատ մեծ է:

  4. The facts are simple as Globalism infects more nations around the world, borders, ethnic identity and the importance of marrying within one’s culture is not tolerated. Furthermore, anything that insinuates morality, commitment to preservation and the “old ways” is not tolerated by this dictatorial, technocratic world order. Armenia is entrenched in globalism and we have long lost our sovereignty. One example is the national seal. When you compare the 1918 seal with the 1991, it’s leaps and bounds in comparison. We have submitted willfully to the order that is determined to destroy the traditional family, our Armenian Christianity, language and culture. With so many English words that are rammed in for use in the Armenian media in Armenia, we are seeing the dissolution of our identity. It’s through the highly effective social engineering programming that our people in the last bastion of Armenian residence (the Armenian Middle Eastern communities are torn apart), is under siege. This is a mayday call to all those who are Armenian, Nationalists and Armenian Christians who believe in our Armenian Church to stand against this enemy. May God save our nation.

  5. Simply put, World War Two created a political climate in the West where it became the end goal to be as absolutely unlike Hitler as possible. As a result, Nationalism became a dirty word, and everyone had to be 100 percent excited about becoming a minority in their own country. Don’t swallow this snake oil, Armenia. It will be the end of you. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

  6. Got the feeling you’re confusing conventional “nationalism” with what’s happening in Armenia today. Pashinian pushing for a new age democracy – values, institutions, independent justice and related procedures to breach oligarchic models of governance and gross corruption. Turning a page in social/political history in the development of our civilization. With, the entire Armenian population behind and with him. Not nationalism but a unique convergence on common goals and efforts to boost Armenia’s democratic image on all world platforms and reinforce its development.

    • I agree with this sentiment, as long as what Pashinyan does is not AT ALL at the expense of Armenian values, traditions, language, religion and demography.

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